Famously a Ken main with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the well-loved character, we asked him if he had any tips for getting to grips with the new-look Ken, along with up-and-coming Street Fighter players, as well as his feelings on the journey from Street Fighter V to Street Fighter 6.
Whether you’ve never touched a fighting game or have fond memories of arcade machines, the launch of Street Fighter 6 is a great time to get involved with the decades-long franchise. Big Bird’s affection is clearly directed at Ken; he’s been maining him for years, so his advice to new players keeps the various character designs and skill sets as key.
“Start with picking a character you like, design-wise, and learn their command list,” he says. “From here, you can learn the mechanics and everything. They change between games, so pick a character and go from there.”
Big Bird isn’t here to go easy on newcomers, though, as he says the depth of your research may be the key to becoming a Street Fighter champion. “Once you’ve settled on a character, learn their entire move list, figure out what anti-air the character has, learn the bread and butter [this means their key combos], and how to navigate the ground game with them. There doesn’t seem to be a limit to how much you can learn about your character.
“I’m a firm believer that you have to like the character to do well so I’d actually prioritise learning a favourite over an easy character.”
The new game will allow professionals like Big Bird to train their characters using the built-in frame data in training mode. This is useful when you’re learning when to punish and when to hold back. “It always comes down to frame data. Some moves look punishable visually, but if you want to be 100 percent sure when you can punish and when you can’t, frame data is your best friend.”
Use the lab and learn the optimum times to use moves, it can make the difference between average players and good players
Exploring SF6’s new roster
With a new Street Fighter game comes redesigns of classic characters but also a cast of new faces. Street Fighter 6 is no different. Joining the roster are Luke (who made his first appearance in Street Fighter V’s final DLC), Jamie, Kimberly, Marisa, Manon, Lily and JP.
Of course, Big Bird will continue to main Ken, but these new additions have sparked his curiosity. “I think the new characters look amazing,” he says, “I’m very scared of Manon and JP and interested in Marissa. I think Capcom did a great job with all of the new characters, they made them all appealing – I want to try every single one!”
Plenty of old favourites will be returning, albeit with full redesigns that give players a chance to reevaluate their mains and try something new, whether it’s Ryu with a beard or Cammy with new pants.
But we can’t keep Big Bird away from Ken for long, and with his rugged-yet-subtle new redesign, there are sure to be differences in the way that he handles in-game. “Ken hasn’t changed too much; he’s still the same monster he’s always been,” he says. “He’s super strong in Street Fighter 6, his corner carry is amazing, and he has all the tools he needs, like Fireball, Dragon Punch and Dragon Slash.”
High praise for Ken, unsurprisingly, but how does he stand up against life-long rival Ryu in his latest appearance? Big Bird comments: “Ken’s shoryukens have more utility than Ryu’s, they even have fire on them. Ken has an answer to every single situation.” In terms of weaknesses, Big Bird states that “he might not be a very good zoner, due to higher recovery on fireball, but that’s okay as all he needs is one opening and then it snowballs from there.”
For anyone looking to follow in Big Bird’s footsteps and main Ken in Street Fighter 6, he has this bit of advice: “I’d recommend learning the Jinrai kick loops in the corner, particularly the heavy starter and the EX ones, as well as learning the Drive Rush combos and when to use them. Use the lab, and learn the optimum times to use moves. It can make the difference between average players and good players.”
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